Desert Diamond Cup soccer
New York defeats LA Galaxy
Red Bulls bring out Henry, Cooper and outshoot Galaxy
New York Red Bulls forwards Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper each tallied a goal in their defeat of the LA Galaxy on Wednesday night. The Red Bulls beat the defending Major League Soccer Cup champions by a score of 2-1.
New York held possession for most of the first half hour of the match, culminating in a Kenny Cooper shot that caught LA keeper Josh Saunders flat footed.
The half ended with New York up, and it wasn't until past the hour mark that Thierry Henry, making his first appearance in the tournament, collected a pass from Dane Richards and knocked it into the Galaxy net.
LA was able to take back one goal when Marcelo Sarvas scored off of a free kick awarded just beyond the box.
Sarvas's free kick wasn't enough to give LA the win, but was enough for the arithmetic. The goal gave them just enough to get into the championship match that will be played on Saturday. The Galaxy will face the New England Revolution at 8 p.m. at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium.
New York will be playing in the consolation match against Real Salt Lake at 6 p.m.
Backe to winning ways
What is expected to be New York's starting line-up had a chance to shine in last week's match against Pumas de UNAM, but this is the first time Tucson fans have had a chance to see them.
There were still a few missing, most notably Rafael Márquez and Juan Agudelo. Still, it was an important chance for most of the starting team to get together before the season. New York coach Hans Backe was upbeat about the squad after the game.
"I think we played very well the first half," he said. "The passing game was very short, it was precise. We defended phenomenally."
Henry and Kenny Cooper were paired up on top for the second time, the first coming in the match against Pumas. Backe was positive about the duo.
"Henry was flying today," he said about the French forward, "I wonder if this is the best I've seen since he's arrived with us."
"He still has a lot of pace," Backe said of the 34 year old. "It was probably his best game so far. Lively. On fire."
"He's done well for us every game," Backe said about Cooper. "He's playing well in open play, getting the ball. He's a hard worker."
Although the team has two other forwards who were very productive last season — Luke Rodgers and Juan Agudelo — the team picked up Cooper from the Portland Timbers in January because other factors may keep them from having regular starts. Englishman Rodgers' status is in doubt because of visa issues, and Agudelo will miss many games because he's on the Olympic team.
"I think they understand each other quite well," said Backe of his attacking pair. "I think it's quite a good combination."
"It was an amazing finish," Henry said of Cooper's goal. "One touch, first post. It wasn't an easy goal to score. Hopefully he can do more of that for us."